Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Tyler Perry adapts his own stage play, this time though the story is darker and far more sex driven than any of his previous work. Confessions of a Marriage Counselor features an attractive cast and thankfully Perry, himself doesn’t make an acting appearance in the picture. While the filmmaking style is still unremarkable and the staging flat, this religious themed morality tale has enough interesting characters to pass for acceptable entertainment.

Brice (Lance Gross) and Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) are childhood sweethearts, since a young age the pair have been nearly inseparable. Much to the chagrin and under the watchful eye of Judith’s protective mother, Miss Sarah (Ella Joyce) the young couple eventually marry and move together into an apartment in Atlanta. Brice takes on a job as a pharmacist in a small drug store, and Judith is the in-house counselor at a matchmaking service. All is wonderful in their marriage until temptation strikes Judith in the form of Harley (Robbie Jones), who I believe is actually described in the movie as ‘the black Mark Zuckerberg’. He is something of a playboy and his quest for Judith seems to be an outright physical conquest. I won’t go any further in plot description for fear of revealing some of the more scandalous aspects of the soap opera storyline. Except to mention that the final scene is both miscalculated and disheartening.

Confessions of a Marriage Counselor is sort of a mixed bag, for all the positives-the negatives are equally as glaring. For instance, I liked the acting from the trio of leads and I appreciated the paced storyline that intermingled comedy and high drama, but the third act revelations come off a bit harsh and make the finger waving religious context even more flagrant. However it is also Perry’s most accomplished screenplay to date and a move into a more serious realm as an artist. I would love to see what a more sure-handed director could do with one of Tyler Perry’s scripts. His greatest talent lies on the page, makes you wish he would get out of his own way.

Director: Tyler Perry
Stars: Brandy Norwood, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross

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